We are a family with four children living in Montreal and currently on social assistance. Our five year old daughter Charlotte has severe autism and is in need of help.
We were told that Charlotte qualifies for 20 hours a week therapy. Therapy she has not, and apparently will not ever receive due to Quebec austerity and severe underfunding for services for autistic children.
Charlotte has been on the Centre de Réadaptation waiting list for over the year now, and we just found out today from our social worker that she will be receiving services in September of 2017, but since she will have turned six she will now be 'low priority'.
We were told that Charlotte would be "prioritized" for services because she would be entering kindergarten the following year. She received nothing. We have applied to a President's Choice grant to pay for six months of therapy but she was placed on yet another waiting list. Charlotte needs help now.
We are hoping to raise $6,000 to pay for 6 months of basic speech therapy which includes an initial assessment and two one hour sessions per week. In preparation for applying for the President's Choice grant we spent months contacting therapists and finally found one who we are confident will help our daughter.
Our child, and other Quebec children with severe disabilities, have been completely abandoned by Philippe Couillard, the Premier of Quebec. We understand that there are many out there struggling under austerity, and it is not only children like our daughter Charlotte who have been left behind.
We encourage you to give your money to causes like shelters for women or LBGTQ, or to organizations fighting the pipelines or Black Lives Matter instead of our cause.
In the last few months we have watched our daughter lose words and interest in other forms of communitcation. It is heartbreaking for us to see her fall behind while we continue to wait, and have been waiting for years, for services we had been told that are child was entitled to by Quebec government. Even our countless phone calls are not being returned.
Most of all please share this because more important than raising money is to raise awareness to the state of services for people with autism in Quebec under austerity and to devise a counter attack.
If you cannot give, we are hoping to organize an occupation of the offices responsible for the underfunding of these services and we need bodies.
Please share widely.